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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — November 7, 2012 at 9:55 am 7,241 96 Comments

‘Concentration of Poverty’ at APS? — Some parents say Arlington Public Schools have designed school boundaries to concentrate lower-income students in south Arlington schools. At least one parent is hoping the school system creates a rule in which “no school would be able deviate from the district-wide percentage of poverty by more or less than 10 points.” [WAMU]

District Taco Expanding — District Taco, which opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Arlington, is continuing to expand in the District. The restaurant has signed a lease and will be opening a second D.C. location on Capitol Hill. [Washington Post]

Snow in the Forecast Today — Forecasters say there’s a roughly 30 percent chance Arlington could see around 1 inch of snow tonight. If not accumulating snow, there’s about a 60 percent chance of seeing a few snowflakes. [Capital Weather Gang]

Fire at Crystal Plaza ApartmentsUpdated at 10:05 a.m. — A small laundry room fire broke out in the basement of the Crystal Plaza apartments (2111 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City this morning. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and are now working to clear a significant amount of smoke from the building.

  • B22201

    Worst looking wrap ever. I saw that car parked in Shirlington this past weekend (didn’t see the Bronco Bama on it). . . but it was all bubbly and crappy looking. If you’re going to wrap your car in vinyl, at least get a good job done.

    • WeiQiang

      It was in Crystal City yesterday. *yech*

  • John Fontain

    da da da da (doink), pbs kids!

  • Fred

    APS…. because why?????? Um, the schools in S Arlington are pretty damn good!! Kenmore Middle School is massive. We took our kid out of a N Arlington school so that he could go to Kenmore. While Wakefield does not score as well as HBW and Yortown…. ALL APS High Schools are in the top 100 or something in the nation, including Wakefield. APS and Arlco have invested hugely in the S arlington schools – and S Arlington teachers are some of the best

    • 120

      Agreed. Well said.

    • dk (not DK)

      This.

    • Louise

      Beautifully said, Fred!

      • ArlRat

        +1 for Fred

    • Patrick

      Actually NONE of the APS High Schools are in the top 100 in the nation.

      • BluemontFred

        Right…they are in the top 1 % of high schools in the nation

  • arlmimprov

    That woman bought a home in a crappy school district and now she wants to be able to bus every child that parents did not make the same mistake—many of us suffering severely in square footage due to this fact—send their kids on a bus 20 min across town.

    She is not one of the disadvantaged that has no other school choice. This is her own doing.

    • arlmimprov

      btw–feel free to send some of the poverty-stricken kids ona bus to our school BUT do not think for a second those of that paid a huge premium to live here are going to put our kids on a bus across town when we currently walk to our school.

      We would have stayed in the District if we wanted to send our kids to a medicore-to-poor performing school.

    • Future

      +1

    • drax

      Wait–there are poor kids in an area where there are poor people? Who woulda thought?

    • Arlingtonienne

      Guess what? There is only one school district in Arlington. People in S. Arlington don’t have much square footage either, and our family can barely afford the tiny place we’re in! I’m sorry you don’t think my children (or any other child regardless of where they fall on the socioeconomic ladder) deserve to have access to the same type of education AS EVERY OTHER CHILD IN THEIR SCHOOL DISTRICT.

      • SoArl

        Not worth even getting into it with them, Arlingtonienne. As we both know, one or two elementary schools is not representative of all the schools in South Arlington. I’m perfectly happy with my kid’s school.

        • Arlingtonienne

          I know you’re right. It’s just the absurd arguments that get to me…the “I live in a tiny space so you don’t deserve to send your child to a good school” argument doesn’t add up to me.

          Why Arlington? Because we value time with our kids instead of time spent commuting.

          At the end of the day, our kids are still too young for school, and when they are ready we’ll probably make the choice (and the sacrifices necessary) to send them to a religious school anyway (yes, cue your insults because we value an education in our spiritual beliefs). But it doesn’t mean that I think there should be any difference in the educational experience at any APS regardless of race, color, creed, or address.

          • apssupporter

            Move to Springfield or Burke or Annadale. I moved out of DC because I wasn’t in the one or two neighborhoods with decent schools.

            Lady, this is America. I attended a mediocre Fairfax County School (not the Langley, McLean, etc.) and I got a fine public education…as would your kids where you live now in S.Arl.

            You have a very disgusting take on what YOU think YOU deserve. As others have said, work on your home school if you think it needs improvement. APS pours a ton of $ into improving its schools.

            You just sound pathetic. You want it all. I want to live 1.5 miles from the District but I can’t afford it and afford to buy in the school district I want my kids to attend..poor me, poor me, poor me… disgusting.

          • Arlingtonienne

            The point I am trying to make is that Arlington is ALL ONE DISTRICT.

            It’s not about what I deserve, or even about what my kids deserve (as I mentioned above we’re disinclined to chose public anyway), its about what the children of South Arlington deserve…and I think a policy that isolates children entirely based on parental income (my kids hardly qualify for free lunch programs, but we also don’t live in a $2 million home) is one that bears reconsidering.

            As for your personal insults, does it make you feel good to hurtle vitriol at someone you’ve never met? It doesn’t do much to advance your argument, in my opinion. Maybe it’s that mediocre education you had showing through.

          • arlimprov

            “my kids hardly qualify for free lunch programs, but we also don’t live in a $2 million home”

            I feel so sorry for you.

            Fix your home school or move.

            This is the way it is all across America.

            Btw, I don’t live in a $2million home either. Did you not even look at the schools before you decided to buy? You have options- you chose to pigeonhole yourself.

          • arlimprov

            The term ‘district’ is a term used in this area for ‘neighborhood boundaries’. Fairfax co. Moco use it as well. They are all one single county–but the boundary lines are interchangably referred to as Districts.

            In any county, there are stronger schools in certain areas. Often they are ‘perceived’ to be stronger solely due to the fact of the demographics feeding into them. Most often, the education offered in these wealthy counties is equivalent in each school. The test results differ because ESL kids and disadvantaged kids don’t receive the same support at home. It has nothing to do with the school itself.

            This is the case with the S Arl schools. They are very good schools- but the perception is off because they are so diverse.

          • Arlingtonienne

            When we bought our condo the economy was a lot different, and at the time we also thought we were unable to conceive so we didn’t give much thought to the area schools or what life with four people in a two bedroom condo would be like. Six years, and two joyful surprises later (and one lousy economic/housing mess), and here we are.

            To be clear, I am not asking for a handout or for something special for me or my family. We’re like millions of other Americans stuck in this economy. I just don’t see what is so wrong with wanting to even the playing field in our single school district, and I am disheartened by an attitude that seems to say “keep the poor people out of Arlington.”

            Arlington remains a phenomenal place to live, even when you’re on the “wrong side of the tracks” and your neighbors apparently think you’re disgusting and pathetic :). That’s why we stay.

          • drax

            Arlingtonienne,

            You deserve high-quality schools.

            That doesn’t mean we are obligated to redraw all the boundaries to try to make that happen though.

            Nor does it mean that would actually help.

          • Loocy

            Here’s the secret: some of those “poorer” schools are the best schools in Arlington. They are heavily funded and full of life. Unlike the schools with wealthy demographics, they can’t be assured of effortless passing of the SOLs, so they work hard to meet the needs of their diverse learners and communities. I live in a wealthy attendance area but chose to send my kids to a less privileged school and it was an amazing place. Don’t pick schools based on test scores — they are flat and meaningless.

          • dk (not DK)

            Arlimprove, you yourself used the term “crappy school district” to describe the schools in S. Arl. So I guess you are one of those people who has an “off” perception because the S Arl community is so diverse?

          • John Fontain

            Arlingtonienne said: “a policy that isolates children entirely based on parental income…is one that bears reconsidering.”

            Boundaries are not based on income, they are based on geography (for the most part).

          • sue

            How do they redraw boundaries based on a family’s income?

            We don’t disclose our income to APS–only proof of residency. This is not enough to know somebody’s economic status.

            Boundaries are generally drawn on a geographic basis. The only way that makes sense–environmentally and economically (ironically).

          • drax

            Exactly, sue. They don’t gerrymander school boundaries, and they probably shouldn’t (although it was done to accomplish racial desegregation in some places).

            I’m not sure how it could be done in Arlington – ever school district would be a long thing territory with half of it in N. Arlington and half south of Rt. 50.

          • arlimprov

            “we didn’t give much thought to the area schools or what life with four people in a two bedroom condo would be like.”

            We had two kids in 900 square feet in DC and poor performing public schools. We bought that home prior to having kids. We moved to Arlington in 2009 solely for the schools. We researched, upon researched and it took us 2 years of renting before a home we could afford in our school boundary/district came on the market.

            You can understand how upset you would be to buy a home solely for the schools and then have somebody say we are going to uproot your kids from a school down the road to one across town.

            All kids should receive equal education. The suggested plan is not viable.

            To paint us as uncaring and afraid of poor people is the reason you are losing your argument. Make it about improving your local neighborhood school. Don’t make it about being jealous of what others have and trying to take it away from them.

          • arlimprov

            FWIW, you live in Arlington. You could easily sell your condo at anytime. You aren’t living in Cleveland.

          • arlimprov

            Loocy, we’ve tried to tell Arlingtonienne that. Several posts have said there is an ‘incorrect perception’ of the education at those schools. All APS schools have GREAT teachers. The test results do not reflect the learning given the high percentage of ESL kids. However, she is focused solely on the demograhics of her local school and wants to bus some white kids in—all the while accusing everyone that is against putting their young children on a long bus ride across town as racist/uncaring of the poor.

          • arlmom

            +100

          • Arlington Parent

            Exactly. I live in S. Arlington, zoned to one of the elementary schools with the highest percentage of free/reduced lunch students. I would much rather WALK my kid to the nearest school than have her bussed across the county for the “privilege” of going to a white/affluent school. As long as my neighborhood school has great teachers, a great administration and the same resources as other APS schools, I’m really not too concerned about the demographics or the other kids’ test scores. Also I do think there’s value in diversity and I’m happy that our neighborhood school is ethnically and socioeconomically diverse.

      • Future

        If you live in a part of Arlington and think there is something substandard about YOUR school. Work to fix it, don’t just try to spread “the problem” around. I’m sure Jamestown’s PTA isn’t the only one who can get something done when they see a problem.

        • arlmimprov

          +1

          Why Arlington? If you can barely afford to live here–move farther out in Fairfax County where things cost less and you can get a great education.

          That is what my parents did.

      • arlmimprov

        Busing my kid to your school will do nothing to fix your school.

        You need to work with your school. You need to get off your ass and do something.

        Bitching and moaning ‘poor me’ is doing nothing.

        Newsflash: the rest of Arlington has been trying to make all kids receive the same education.

        • julie

          Akin to sending NW DC kids to SW DC public schools…yeah that will fix those SW schools. This is, perhaps, the most idiotic suggestion I have ever heard.

          H*ll no! It is not even legal to do what this woman is suggesting.

      • SoArl

        One thing I would love to see changed is to make “science focus” open to the whole county. My kid is obsessed with all things science but because of the boundaries, we are not one of the “chosen.”

        • arlmimprov

          It is a county-wide school and it has a 17% poverty rate. It is a very diverse school. The neighborhood that is Key district is tiny.

          They are making Taylor a STEM and they are planning to make one of the new schools a ‘science school’.

          I’d love to send my kids to Sidwell or St.Albans but it’s not going to happen.

          • SoArl

            No it’s not a county wide school. I was interested in sending my daughter there but its only open to two or three boundry areas. I’m glad they are making one of the new schools a science school.
            What’s with the snotty remark about Sidwell or St. Albans? Your responses this morning have been a bit over the top.

          • Arlingtonienne

            No kidding…apparently I need to “get off my ass” and I am “bitching and moaning” because I vote for doing what’s most fair (and I disdain the attitude that you don’t want your children to get some “poor” on them).

            I’m not sure busing is the answer– just that I think the concerns raised in the article are valid.

            Arlimprov, maybe you need another cup of coffee this morning?

          • arlimprov

            It’s so ironic that you are the one that doesn’t want to send you kids to your home school because of the poor.

            We chose to live in a school district (and we searched long and hard upon living DC) that had diversity, strong schools all the way through HS. W-L, Swanson, Key/ASFS are all very diverse socio-economically.

            This has absolutely nothing to do with me getting ‘poor’ on my kids. That is the furthest thing from the truth. If so–I could have chose Yorktown HS. This is about buying a home for the schools and then having some dingbat want me to bus my kids 20 min away to fix her problem.

            I agree all kids should receive a good public education. Your approach is seriously flawed and, fortunately, will never fly.

          • South Awwlington

            If your daughter loves Science and Math, by all means…encourage her and get her in that school!!! Women in Science/Math professions are in high demand and low supply.

            Good luck!

          • apssupporter

            There is nothing going on there that isn’t happening in the rest of the Arlington county elem. schools.

            Trust me.

          • SoArl

            Really? Could you elaborate? (I’m not being sarcastic – I ended up sending my kid to Campbell because I figured that the hands-on learning and nature focus was the closest thing.)

          • arlimprov

            All Arlington schools “teach to the test”. There are basics that all Arl elementary school students have to learn. There is little time for much else.

            There is a science lab on Wed. which is really just basic nature stuff. The school is a great school—but I really don’t see much difference than any of the other N Arl schools.

      • drax

        Who said your kids don’t deserve the same education?

    • Arlington Cat

      Get rid of ATS. Problem solved.

      • apssupporter

        +1

  • Ryan

    Hmm, I live in Crystal Plaza and that fire is news to me

  • Andy

    Arlington hasn’t designed school districts that way; people have moved into neighborhoods for the schools. In any case, Arlington county moves heaven and earth to try to get resources to the schools that really need it.

  • ArLater

    ArlNow- last night as I was going to bed just after 2 am, I heard atleast 8 different emergency vehicles fly down 50 headed east bound all with their sirens and lights on. Could not tell what district they were from from my window but all seemed to be in quite a hurry and there were lots! Any idea what they were heading too? I live in Rossyln just north of 50

    Anyone else see/hear this??

    • nicole

      i did! i’m curious about this as well.

      • Anon

        It was probably a working fire response to a Rossyln high-rise building. Construction equipment was on fire on the 9th floor of the high rise. Fire was knocked down quickly.

    • dave

      There was a fire at the Artisphere. Fast response and quick work by initial units contained fire and limited extention. Box Alarm + Working Fire Dispatch.

      • R. Griffon

        So you’re saying that there was a fire at the Artisphere, and that nothing of value was lost?

        (Sorry, I’ll let myself out…)

  • Mr_Whippy

    That car is so ugly I wish I could change my vote! How many bottles of shaving cream does that fit under the hood? I’ve been looking for a new medicine cabinet.

    • 120

      If you don’t like the car, don’t look at it. As far as changing your vote because you think the car is ugly, that’s just stupid.

      • bobco85

        I think you missed Mr_Whippy’s humor there. It’s just a bit of hyperbole.

        Also, that car is extremely shiny!

      • Mr_Whippy

        You’re just a regular ray of sunshine – don’t get too close to that car or you’ll blind yourself.

    • JamesE

      It does have a nice supercharged V8 under the hood

      • Dorkus

        You could put a supercharged V8 in a Mercury Sable – it doesn’t mean it’s something you’d want to be seen in.

        • South Awwlington

          Loves this comment!

        • WeiQiang

          that’s called a ‘Q-ship’, but you’re right.

  • C-is-for-Kevin

    Shiny = Good, so Extra-Super-Shiny must = Extra-Super-Good!

  • KalashniKEV

    Why don’t the parents in N. Arlington take some S. Arlington poor people to work with them? They can hang out all day celebrate the VIBRANT DIVERSITY.

    Why do the kids always have to suffer?

  • Really?

    i think the problem is Wakefield, not ESs. if Wakefield performed on par with Yorktown the N/S divide would be largely eliminated.

    • SoArl

      I’m not so sure Wakefield is the issue. The boundries that encompass Wakfield are huge, and there actually are quite a few middle class or affluent people in S. Arlington. Boston-Hoffman and Carlin Spring Elementary are the lowest performing elementary schools. They also have a very poor demographic. I don’t think busing is the answer but it would be nice if some of these people who are reacting so violently to poor Arlingtonienne coughed up some suggestions of their own instead of “tough doo-doo.”

      • cat

        Here’s my suggestion for her: move.

        It’s what the rest of us did.

        • Josh S

          If you all jumped off a bridge, should she do that, too?

          The point is, so what? Just because you did it and others did it, too, doesn’t mean it’s the best or only solution.

        • drax

          Some people stand and fight to fix problems instead of running away.

          • sue

            And some just ask, ask, ask….entitlement.

            “I bought an expensive condo in a school zone that sucks so please re-zone everyone else so my kid can have white classmates. I am unwilling to consider any other option. [WAMU].”

      • cat

        She isn’t even zoned for B-H or Carlin Spring. She just wants more white kids bused into her school.

        There. I said it.

        • SoArl

          Who is “she?” Arlingtonienne or the person in the WAMU piece?

          • cat

            It applies to both ot them.

          • SoArl

            Arlingtonienne said above that she doesn’t really think busing is the answer.

          • cat

            only after she started getting attacked…she was for it initially and in support of wamu.

          • Loocy

            Arlingtonienne also said that her kids were too young to go to school anyway. So she is basing this just on a perception and on test scores.

            I hope that once her kids get old enough, she will check out the schools and realize that the education her kids would get at her neighborhood school is superb. Lots of money goes to Arlington’s less wealthy schools, and they are really top notch. As I mentioned earlier, I intentionally put my own kids in a lower-income, high-English language learner school, rather than my North Arlington neighborhood school, and I could not have been happier.

    • 120

      Wakefield is not the issue. You may want to check the performance records before assuming they do not perform as well as the other schools.

      • Really?

        oh yeah, why don’t you prove me wrong then? coz i sure won’t find any record indicating WF performs as well as YT.

        btw, 0-10 vs 10-0, nuff said.

      • Loocy

        Other than their football record, Wakefield does fine. Note that President Obama has visited there several times and it gets named in US News’ favorite high schools every year. Wakefield offers a very solid academic program with lots of AP and advanced courses. They have lots of programs for struggling kids as well as lots of programs for the more advanced kids. I knew some smart kids from well-educated families who went to Wakefield and the quality of instruction there was superb. Again, test scores are a better measurement of socioeconomics than anything else. Schools with more diverse populations have more diverse test scores. Busing kids around might move average tests scores at individual schools closer to the mean, but it will do nothing to help the individual children who are struggling and in fact will prevent them from forming the important community bonds that come from attending neighborhood schools.

  • cat

    Applies to both of them.

  • BluemontFred

    This is against the law. The courts have repeatedly turned this down. You can not forceable tell a child who lives next door to a school that they have to get on a bus just to balance the racial makeup of schools

    • cat

      +1

      You think they would know this before going public with their argument.

      • Loocy

        Years ago, Nauck parents sued Arlington — and won — for the right to send their children to their neighborhood school. They valued the community of a neighborhood school and resented having their kids scattered all over Arlington in order to fulfill someone’s idea of diversity.

        • Carriej

          Good for them!

          They are going to be slammed with lawsuits up the wazoo if they even try this.

    • Josh S

      Well, technically, their argument was to balance the poverty level of the schools, not racial makeup. And socio-economic status is not a protected class as far as I know.

      So I don’t know if it is clear that this is illegal.

      That said, I do think it’s a waste of everyone’s time cause it’s not going to happen.

      • chris

        YEah…riiiight. It is going to be very hard in a court of law to prove that there wasn’t some ‘racial’ basis. One population is overwhelmingly Latino-Hispanic and the other population is overwhelmingly White. However, this is solely ‘socio-economic’. I see.

        How is APS going to prove my household’s economic standing before shipping my kids over?

        What is their economic cut-off?

        Will they only trade wealthy hispanics for poor hispanics?

        This is a complete and utter disaster and the people spouting this crap at WashPost Blog, WAMU, etc should be embarrassed. They look like complete nutjobs.

        • chris

          Michelle Rhee while in DC never suggested shipping wealthy NW kids to the SW/SE schools and she was radical about improving education.

          Her goal was improving the home schools and closing the ones that were underenrolled and in dire straits. Charters also helped fill in the cracks.

          Nowhere in the country do we do a ‘poverty redistribution’. There are always inner city and poorer sections and always have been.

          What is sending my 5-year old over on a bus to S. Arl going to do to fix the school?? IS HE GOING TO BE TEACHING A CLASS? WTF? WTF?

          • sue

            One thing it will do is lose ‘volunteerism’. I can get up and help out at our elementary school because it is 0.5 miles away. I WAH and can cut-out here and there to help out at special events. Move my school all the way across town and I am not going to be able to come in to help anywhere near as much as I do now.

            Arl Co sports teams are based on school designations. Kids at the same school play on the same teams, practice near their homes. Having kids all over the county attending the same school will completely ruin this.

            I can’t find a single good thing about this idea.

    • drax

      Huh? Busing for racial balance has been upheld in many situations. It’s not that simple.

  • chris

    I think many of your are going to regret that you voted for an extremely liberal Arl. Co Board.

    They are all about moving poor people into wealthy neighborhoods and trying to bus rich kids to schools in ‘concentrated poverty areas’. If you oppose any of this you are deemed a racist.

    They have completely gotten out of control of late.

    • Josh S

      Do you even stop to read stuff?

      The county board has nothing to do with the craziness about busing or concentrated poverty, etc.

      You may still think they have “completely gotten out of control of late,” but juxtaposing that with the discussion of busing schoolkids is as crazy as the proposal itself.

  • Teacher

    The WAMU-complainer wants to ship poor kids away because there are too many poor kids at her neighborhood school?

    Yikes!

    • John Fontain

      That’s what I read. Basically, Linley Mancilla and Fred Millar don’t want their kids subjected to being around poor kids so their solution is to ship these “horrible” poor kids to other schools. Can you believe people will go on record and say nutty, class-est things like this?

  • APSNumberOne

    We used to do this in Arlington, not for socio-economic reasons, but for racial integration, and of course it was the black students who were bussed away from their homes to “white” schools. It was so unfair to the kids who were bussed, that we finally got smart and stopped it. Until we build low income housing in 22207, the fact is that more affordable housing happens to be in south Arlington so the socio-economic situation is not balanced. That said, there is no discernible difference between south and north schools in Arlington; they are all good. Bussing kids all over town is not the answer to anything other than frustrating children.

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